McDonald’s? Conservation Landscape Initiative?

coffee cup I don’t usually go to McDonalds, but I needed a place to write down meeting notes after my meeting at Nescopeck State Park, just north of White Haven, PA.  While at the park, I forgot to photograph the snow-shoe announcement and the frozen lake, or even the beautiful park office.  The last time I was here was with Ed Mittleman in the 1990’s sometime.  We came to cross country ski.

This weekend at the park is their winterfest.  Locals  are looking forward to snow for this event.

So, I was meeting with a group working on the NE PA six counties of the CLI.  There are 7 areas of Pennsylvania where DCNR and partners are “working on creating a sustainable regional economy based on our natural resources and these links between communities and resources.”
How do you express this on a map?

Poconos Forest and Waters Conservation Landscape Initiative

Let’s take a step back…  What is the Conservation Landscape Initiative (CLI)… I really don’t know much about the CLI, but here’s an article about why it exists, and Ellen Ferretti at Pennsylvania Environmental Council is quoted.  I also found a link to another summary.

When you are involved in an initiative, it’s natural for it to consume much of your energy. I think that stakeholders involved on a day to day basis need to focus on details.  But people who would be supportive of the CLI efforts (such as local communities, state representatives, and Congressional Reps), need a much broader picture.  They need to see what’s most important in a split second.  If you’re advocating for the CLI to a potential supporter, you need to leave them with a summary that, I think is, a map, the mission statement, specific asks, a reason to be feel good, and how these asks fit into a broader context (ie, the projects total investment priorities).

The consequence of driving 4 hours for a 20 minute meeting was that I could consume about 8 gallons of gas, add some carbon emissions to the atmosphere, and listen to Ken Burns’ book  The National Parks.

Looking at the CLI efforts from an outsider’s perspective, I think of all the people in the Philadelphia Area I know who either own properties in the CLI or are looking at buying properties.  And when you romanticize the “cabin on the lake”,  “the mountain house”, or “the farmette”, the reality is that you’re buying into private lands at a cost of maybe $200,000 + $2500/year (taxes and utilities) that could be appreciated by everyone.  I explore these opportunities for fun and then realize how much nicer it is to head to a CLI area and go to a B&B or enjoy a state park campground.  And then we can invest that much more into making our homes and communities, where we live day to day, nicer.

As residents of Southeastern PA, we don’t need to know the details of the Conservation Landscape Initiative.  We do need to support it. It’s a great connection to nature.  I appreciate the efforts of everyone working on what seems a monumentally important task.